Monday, November 24, 2008

Pictures Of The Day--The Splendid Splinter

Arguably, The Greatest Hitter to EVER play the game. "The Splendid Splinter" in all his glory during a special studio shoot for Life Magazine. The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Great and later Manager of The Washington Senators was said to take batting practice at RFK Stadium during his field managing days in DC and STILL Reached The Fences for BP Home Runs. Ted Williams swung a terrific bat!!--even at the Age of 51 in 1969.

Phenomenal photos that clearly show how SKINNY Ted really was early in his career. Age 22 when these pictures were taken. You can bet if Williams was playing today, some trainer would have put him on an off-season weight training program. And Old Number 9 probably wouldn't have been any better. Ted Williams was all about eye contact and form.

What A Swing!!

With perfect vision, "Teddy Ballgame" always claimed he could see the seams of a pitcher's tossed pitch. Look at one of these studio shots--Williams' eyes are Clearly On The Ball.

What makes these August, 1941 Pictures even more special--less than two months later, Ted Williams would become the last Major League Player to DATE--to hit over .400. Ending the '41 Season at .406. Sadly, just one year later, TW would lose three prime years of his career due to World War II. Later he would lose parts of three more to The Korean War in the 1950's. Yet, he never complained. Williams, a Decorated Marine Fighter Pilot, always said it was His Duty To Serve.

But despite career setbacks beyond his control, Ted Williams still managed to wallop 521 Home Runs and finish with a Career Batting Average of .344. Although, I did have the honor of meeting Williams on a few occasions, never did I see him play a single Major League Game. But Ted Williams had to have been A MUST SEE--every single time he stepped to the plate to hit--IN HIS CAREER!!

Number 9 was truly "The Splendid Splinter".

Photos by Gjon Mili (Life Magazine)

PS-- Williams was also best friends with Astronaut, Senator and Fellow Fighter Pilot--John Glenn. When Glenn headed back into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998--Senator Glenn's Buddy--Ted Williams came to The Kennedy Center Launch Site to visit with the media and witness the launch of STS-95. I have this picture of Williams and I taken just before the launch. But for the life of me, I can't find it. This was before I had a digital camera. Hopefully, The African Queen will come through for me--like she always does!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More On The New Uniforms

Having to be near Nationals Park yesterday for some unrelated to baseball business, I stopped by The Nationals Team Store next to The Centerfield Gate before heading home. It was interesting looking over the New Uniforms and Tee-Shirts now available for sale.

Jesus Flores is being pushed by Our Washington Nationals as a Major Core Player, not just Ryan Zimmerman or Lastings Milledge. Every New Uniform & Tee available included personalized ones of Our Number 3. No New Nick Johnson Jerseys, but plenty of Our Number 24 in last year's models--Now Currently On Sale.

Interestingly, the "DC" Wavy Flag Logo on the front of the Home Variant Authentic Jersey is slightly smaller than the "DC" logo on the replica uniforms. Even the Team Store Employee on site agreed with me on this fact. By my estimate, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in difference.

The New Road Jersey is really appealing, although it's sort of odd to see Gold Trim on the back number, but not on the front number. And I am not sure about wearing that jersey with the Navy Blue Cap. I am going to have to get use to it.

The Red Curly "W" alternate still hasn't stood out for me. The White Piping running down either side of the front button holes doesn't set well with me for some reason. I am not really sure--Why? Maybe, because I actually liked those Red "DC" Alternates worn from 2006 through 2008.

And finally, those Blue Patriotic Uniforms are still OK with me. I know that many of you commented that you simply don't like it. But, this jersey is only going to be worn for very special occasions with White Pants.

By the way, all the new authentic unis are Cool Base Jerseys. They are very soft and light weight. In fact, they have to be described as featherweight. A very nice feel.

While looking over the new jerseys, I couldn't help but think how Our Washington Nationals have promoted certain players each year for authentic uniform sales since The Inaugural Season of 2005.

How times have changed.

2005: Brad Wilkerson, Zach Day, Terrmel Sledge, Jose Guillen, Vinny Castilla, Cristian Guzman and Livan Hernandez
2006: Hernandez, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Chad Cordero, Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano--eventually Ryan Zimmerman
2007: Church, Cordero, Schneider, Zimmerman, Johnson, Austin Kearns & Felipe Lopez--eventually Dmitri Young
2008: Cordero, Zimmerman, Kearns, Johnson, Lastings Milledge, John Lannan & Dmitri Young
2009: Zimmerman, Milledge & Jesus Flores (so far).

Really digging the Gray Washington Script Tee Shirt. It really stands out.

If you are still interested, there was still some decent stuff On Sale at The Team Store for Inaugural Season Nationals Park Merchandise. Saturday, I picked up the red version of the Nationals Park Cabana Shirt. Also available were some of those long sleeve Navy Blue Nationals Park Tees and a few Polo Shirts by Antigua--everything still 50% off.

PS--When I was at Nationals Park Saturday Afternoon, Ballpark Tours were taking place. 10:30AM and 1:30PM, usually four days a week. Check the schedule to be sure.

PSS--Also noticed was the Monument Realty Building being constructed above the Navy Yard Metro East Entrance/Exit is nearing completion. But, virtually no new retail/bar & restaurant construction progress in site. None. The currently economy is certainly not helping the revitalization of the ballpark district.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Picture Of The Day--Hondo!!

Yes, it's My Favorite Player Of All Time!! Frank Howard playing Winter Ball in The Dominican Republic. The Year--1959. The Month--December. Hondo was to become The National League Rookie of The Year in 1960 for The Los Angeles Dodgers. After receiving two World Series Rings for The Dodgers, Big Number 25 for LA was traded to DC for the 1965 Season and wore Number 9. When Hall of Famer Ted Williams' became Manager of The Senators in 1969, Hondo gave up his number to "Teddy Ballgame" and took Number 33 as his own.

The most self-deprecating of men, Big Frank always says EVERYBODY ELSE was better than him. Well, Hondo was a pretty good player in his own right.

Back on August 4th, 2007, while making a Promotional Appearance for Marker Mark Whiskey at The Pearson Liquor and Wine on Wisconsin Avenue NW, Frank was holding court before a raptured audience of about 30 or 40 Fans. If you were there, you will easily recall how friendly and downright enjoyable Howard was in telling stories. For three hours, Big Frank told story after story after story.

Few better than this one about playing Winter Ball in The Dominican Republic.

Question from Fan: "Hondo, did you ever play Winter Ball?"

Hondo: (Standing up and looking at every single person who had come to visit him that afternoon, and let me tell you he had EVERYONE's Attention) "I never had the best eyesight. I wore glasses. So, when I played Winter Ball in The Dominican (Republic)--the lights were so bad--it was like hitting in Braille!"

Everyone busting out laughing. Typical Frank Howard, making fun of himself. Notice-Hondo's not wearing glasses in the above photo.

Photo By Hank Walker

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keep Those Centerplate Comments Coming

Earlier today, we were in touch with Centerplate, the concessionaire at Nationals Park. They were very appreciative of all the comments left here on Nats320 concerning their services and menus on South Capitol Street during Major League Baseball Games. As stated, Centerplate is listening--and watching. The information gathered so far is hopefully influencing their decision making as they move forward with their 2009 plans. But please don't stop commenting now. Just because the original post is a couple of days old, does not mean Centerplate is not looking for any further updates. Your feelings are being passed on to others in the chain of responsibility at Centerplate. Please, keep those comments coming. This really is your opportunity to make your feelings known to those in charge about what you wish to see in food and services at Home Games of Our Washington Nationals.

Give them credit, they are being very pro-active.

You can either leave your comment here at the bottom of this post and they will be forwarded. Or, leave them in the original post where Centerplate is already browsing.

Thanks for the good discussion. Centerplate was very pleased with the initial response.

Picture Of The Day

Washington Senators Third Baseman/Shortstop Ron Hansen is thrown out at Home Plate by Boston Red Sox First Baseman George Scott in the bottom of the 5th innning at D.C. Stadium (Later RFK)--on May 8th, 1968. Boston Catcher Elston Howard makes the tag. Howard was the first African-American Player to win The American League Most Valuable Player Award, while with The New York Yankees in 1963. Nearly three months later, Hansen would make the 7th unassisted Triple Play in Major League Baseball History and last one until 1992--24 years later--during the first inning of a July 30th, 1968 game at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. Ironically, three days later, The Washington Senators traded Ron Hansen back The Chicago White Sox for, even more ironically--Tim Cullen. One of the very same players Hansen was traded to Washington for at the very beginning of the 1968 Season.

Yes, The Expansion Senators were a little strange, but I loved them. They were My Washington Senators.

Photo by Art Rickerby (Life Magazine)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Deposit, The Shuttle & The Slugger

The African Queen and I put down our 20% Deposit the other day for Our Washington Nationals 2009 Season Tickets. Initial Deposit must be received by this Friday, November 21st to, supposedly, retain your seats for next season. We now have the choice to pay in full by December 12th and receive the offered Curly "W" Crystal Ball Gift some time in 2009, or make a 40% payment on that date and then the final 40% payment in January, 2009.

As we have stated before, The African Queen and I are in this for the long haul. The fun we have is well worth the time, money & effort for attending games at Nationals Park. And we are remaining in our Club Level Seats in Section 218, Row A. But understanding the current economy is troubling for many these days and the concern of others over the current state of Our Team--the question today is: Are You Re-Upping your Season Tickets by this Friday at Midnight?

If not--why not?

Please give your well thought out points. And if it's a financial decision not to renew--what do you hope Our Washington Nationals can do to help your particular situation? It's worth discussing.

Also yesterday, Our Washington Nationals sent out an email reminding Season Ticket Holders to put those deposits down by tomorrow evening. Included in the email, was a notice that The Nats Express Shuttle, the free service from RFK Stadium Lot 8 and Nationals Park for patrons wishing to park for free, will be back for 2009.

Good News, especially considering DC Councilman Tommy Wells comments a few weeks back that he does not wish to see The Nats Express continue this coming season because it causes DISRUPTION to his constituents of Ward Six? Now, we find it hard to believe that a series of buses moving along a couple of streets really disrupts anything. Of course last season, before the Inaugural Season of New Nationals Park, the same Councilman Wells requested Our Washington Nationals to make a Pre-Determined stop in Barracks Row at all of Mr. Wells' Area Restaurants and Bars to further Ward Business. A request that Our Washington Nationals decided was not necessary at that time while trying to work out all the logistics of the first season in a new ballpark.

Politics at it's very best in Our Beloved Capital. If you can't get what you want, you try to kill what everybody else gets for free.

As we wrote last year, Sohna and I are not for any change in the Nats Shuttle Route. It's timely enough to park your car at RFK, wait to get on the bus and then unload at 4th and M Streets SE, then walk the rest of the way to Nationals Park. Then, reverse your course after the game. No need for another stop or delay.

Councilman Wells' office did not return my call. But, Our Washington Nationals Team President Stan Kasten DID return my email asking for clarification pondering whether any of Mr. Wells' comments could disrupt The Nats Shuttle Service for 2009.

His exact response: "At the moment, I'm not aware of any route changes."

The Nats Express Free Shuttle is here for 2009, again. That's a good thing--especially with the current economy--every saved dollar helps fans that want to attend baseball games on South Capitol Street--whether Councilman Wells wants to disrupt it or not.

Finally, I've been watching the Mark Teixeira Free Agency Sweepstakes closely--just not writing or talking about it. I believe Our Washington Nationals are SERIOUS in looking for a deal. I really do. They have always said Our Team will pounce on opportunity. Our General Manager Jim Bowden has continually stated Washington needs a left-handed slugger. Even better, Teixeira is a switch hitter. Everyone also knows that Teixeira's Super Agent, Scott Boros, is a formidable foe. Although Mr. Kasten once told me he has a good working relationship with Mr. Boros. That's a good thing.

But at the same time, Washington has to be looking at other options. If The Los Angeles Angels are going to be opening up the bidding for Mark at 8 Years and $153 Million, Washington better also be seriously looking at The San Diego Padres Stellar First Baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres Owner, John Moores is, reportedly, headed toward a nasty divorce. Mr. Moores needs capital (CASH) to finalize his personal deals. So, he's looking to, not only sell his team, but unload potentially high cost contracts. Gonzalez is reportedly available and under team control for three more years. That's OK with me, if a trade can be made. This left-handed power bat is a Gold Glove Level First Baseman--exactly what Our Washington Nationals claim they need. And I don't believe the supposed dislike of JimBo by Padres GM Kevin Towers would EVER get in the middle of a good deal. That would be cutting off your noise, despite your face.

Either Mark Teixeira or Adrian Gonzalez works for me. But if you have the choice of Teixeira for huge dollars for years to come, or three years of Gonzalez to find out what he really has? Which one would you want? They are both, very, very good young players. No question about it.

As far as I am concerned, Our Washington Nationals need to look at ALL THE OPTIONS potentially on the table, not just The Biggest Free Agent Contract out there. If Gonzalez can be had without giving up The Farm, I am all for it. Either way, if Teixeria or Gonzalez make DC their 2009 Home Team, Our Washington Nationals, and Our Fans, are in a better position to win.

And I have little comment on the Cincinnati Slugger Adam Dunn Free Agency rumor of this lefthanded hitter possibly coming to Washington. The Cincinnati Reds Connection has not exactly worked out well for Washington over the past four seasons. Dunn has good power numbers, but is a poor fielder and hits for a low average. He's just not right for Our Team and Our Future.

So, what are your opinions about The Deposit, The Shuttle and The Slugger?

Picture Of The Day

From time to time this off-season, I am going to be posting up interesting photos from baseball's past. Pictures which give a good sense of the rich history of The Great Game, especially if the subject has to do with Washington. First up--a good one.

Young Washington Senators Slugger Harmon Killebrew sitting near the dugout at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC signing autographs for young fans in May, 1959. Two Seasons later, The Senators would move to Minnesota and become The Twins. Killebrew would have a Hall Of Fame Career.

Photo by Hank Walker

John Lannan Topps All Rookie Team

Clearly, John Lannan was the very best starter for Our Washington Nationals all season long in 2008. With a little more luck and hitting behind him, his personal record would have been far better than his final numbers showed. And Our Number 31 was rewarded today by being named to The Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.

A well deserved honor for John Lannan. Congratulations John!!

Here is the complete press release from the team:


Washington Nationals left-handed pitcher John Lannan today was named to the 50th Annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. Lannan was one of 10 players to earn the citation, which annually recognizes one rookie for each position on the field, as well as the top right-handed and left-handed pitchers.

The 24-year-old turned in one of the top rookie seasons in franchise history, going 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA in 31 starts. Lannan led all big league rookies and tied for eighth in the NL with 21 quality starts, which represented the third-highest total ever by a Washington Nationals (2005-08) pitcher and tied for the fifth-highest rookie total in the past 23 years, beginning with the 1986 season. He finished among this season’s freshman leaders in wins (tied for sixth), ERA (fourth) and starts (tied for third), while also ranking among the top rookies with 182.0 innings (fifth), 112 strikeouts (fifth) and a .252 batting average against (third).

Lannan has a career mark of 11-17 with a 3.95 ERA in 37 starts. He was selected by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Siena (NY) College.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Centerplate Concessions @ Nationals Park

Centerplate, The Concessionaire at Nationals Park, has kept in touch with Sohna and I this off-season. We are keeping the dialogue open concerning food choices, service and satisfaction with the many offerings at home games for Our Washington Nationals. This morning, Bob Pascal, The Vice-President of Marketing for Centerplate, called us to ask about our opinions.

What we liked in 2008? What we didn't like? What's in need of improvement? What more would we like to see? Mr. Pascal is on an information fact finding mission and Centerplate really wants to know how they can improve their services and facilities for fans on South Capitol Street. Currently, they are updating their menu choices for 2009 at Nationals Park.

Sohna and I gave Bob our laundry list of items--both good and bad, as well as, ideas on services that need to be tweaked. It was a good discussion. Yes, Centerplate is listening.

And they want to hear from you too!! This is your time to speak up and get your voice heard on concessions and services at Nationals Park for 2009.

All responses will be directly sent to Centerplate for review. They are serious and you should be too. Please make your points, be specific. Everyone involved is in this together. Centerplate is looking for more information to make our ballpark experience and your ballpark experience--an even better one.

Please, let's hear from you. Constructive criticism welcome.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chad Cordero's Wedding

On Saturday November 8th, "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" closed one out in a very special way. In his most important appearance of 2008, Chad Cordero married Miss Jamie Moody in a special ceremony held at The Laguna Beach Marriott Spa & Resort in Dana Point, California. Nearly 275 Family & Friends were in attendance to witness the moment--including some Major League Baseball Celebrity--Current and Former Players of Our Washington Nationals.

And The Cordero Family wanted to share their Son's Big Day with his many Fans in The Nation's Capital. Chad's Father, Edward, sent a complete picture disk to Sohna and I for The Nats320 Blog. We are, in turn, posting some of the pictures right here today. After the ceremony, Jamie & Chad were whisked off to the South Pacific Island of Bora-Bora for a Special Honeymoon Week.

Sohna and I only wish the very best to one of Our Most Favorite Players of All Time--Chad Cordero and his lovely bride--Mrs. Jamie Cordero.

So, here we go with Chad Cordero's Wedding.

The Pre-Game:
With Brother Matthew Suiting Up
Father Edward with Sons--Alan, Chad & Matthew
Flower Girl Shay McCool & Ringer Bearer Landon Steven (Chad's Cousins)
Ushers--Many of whom were Chad's Former Teammates at Cal-State Fullerton
Contemplating The Future With Derrick Merrill
Sean Martin--played in San Francisco Farm System, now works for Super Agent Scott Boros
BJ Pilliterre--Plays For The Yankees AA Affiliate
Dustin Miller--played for Los Angeles Angels Minor League Affiliates
Kurt Suzuki--Catcher for The Oakland Athletics
Chad's Parents--Patti & Ed
Chad's Sister Ashley & Mother Patti
With Brother Alan, Sister Ashley and Brother Matthew
The Cordero Family
The Cordero Family joined by Edward, Jr (Chad's Half Brother) and his wife, Bernie
Some Of The Guests
Joel Hanrahan, Dmitri Young, Robert Fick & Billy Traber

Chad alongside Matt (Larry's Assistant), Larry Reynolds (his Agent) and Joel Hanrahan
Megan & Zach Day
Chad with Sadi
Chad with Sadi (Great, Great Grand Daughter of Silvia) & Silva Lopez--Chad's Great Aunt
Game Time--The Vows--Closing It Out

Jamie's Father, Mike Moody, escorts her to The Alter
"The Chief" ready to Close It Out

Let The Party Begin!!

The First Dance

"The Chief" Cutting A Mean Rug With His Sister--Ashley

Jamie having a private moment with her Father--Mike Moody.

And Chad along with Cal-State Fullerton Baseball Coach Dave Serrano and his former Titan TeammatesMany thanks to Chad's Father, Edward Cordero, for sharing his Family's Special Event. And Chad, who also wanted his many Fans of Our Washington Nationals to share in his Special Day.

Our Very Best To The Bride & Groom!!
All Photos--The Cordero Family--All Rights Reserved